Movie Review: 'Hit and Run' -- 3 stars
Hit and Run
Directed by David Palmer and Dax Shepard
Starring Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold
The action comedy is one of the most tired of genres. But when it's done well - when a movie finds the perfect balance between its action and comic impulses - the result can be a major hit like "48 Hours."
That sort of financial windfall probably isn't in the cards for "Hit and Run," co-directed, written by and starring Dax Shepard (NBC's "Parenthood"), but the movie is a welcome return to form.
Relying on character and story as well as spectacle, Shepard's flick leaves you with the double satisfaction of being entertained and caring about the lives hanging in the balance on-screen.
The actor plays a former getaway driver living in witness protection under the pseudonym of Charlie Bronson, who abandons his rural idyll for a dangerous trip back home to L.A. so girlfriend Annie (Kristen Bell, Shepard's real-life fiancee) can interview for her dream job there.
Lest one think "Hit and Run" is too much of a departure from the norm, we should be clear: the movie is primarily focused on extended car chases, over-the-top baddies (especially Bradley Cooper) and Tom Arnold's scenery chewing as Bronson's supervisory agent. The action has an appealing old-fashioned feel, relying on genuine stunt driving instead of the usual recipe of CGI and incessant cutting.
Shepard and Bell have an easy chemistry that transcends the material. There's pathos in Charlie's struggle to escape his past and carve out a new life with Annie, a reason to remain invested in his plight from start to end.
It's that weird time between months of blockbusters and the start of Oscar season, so "Hit and Run" stands a real chance of being lost in the cinematic shuffle. But if you seek it out, you won't be sorry.